Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hyperbole Is Going to Kill Us All -- The Colonel Carries On #95

by Hiroshima Nagasaki and Syrenead Neyragrat

Epigraph: “I looked Pure Evil in the eye and what I saw was mostly pride run amok.” --Roy Marshrigger

I had a watch battery changed at a jeweler’s, and asked whether the replacement battery would last seven years or ten. The jeweler said only one or two, because the manufacturers put the long-lived (that’s long-LYVED) batteries only into new watches and don’t make them available as replacement batteries. “It’s a marketing thing.”

That sounded bizarre, so I asked my Uncle Internet and he said that as watches age, they get “sticky” and need more power to overcome the drag, so even batteries of the same strength as the original one will last for shorter and shorter periods as the demands on them increase. If the watch innards are cleaned from time to time, the batteries will last longer.

That still sounds bizarre -- how do digital watches get the equivalent of sand in their nonexistent gears? -- but I’m not the FBI and I am not precluded from giving you raw, unvetted information. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

What do you see in this picture? Candidates:

Edward G. Robinson
Donald Duck
Winston S. Churchill
A baby’s face
The Frog King
South Pacific moonrise

No vivid writing, please: “Trump is not so much throwing Sessions under the bus as driving the bus over his own nose to spite his face.” Try to unsee that. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

If paying for the medical care of the poor, the old, and the chronically ill is a federal obligation, why should the tab for fulfilling that obligation be borne specifically by the young and healthy in the form of health insurance premium overcharges (or nonenrollment penalties) instead of by, for example, a border tax, federal borrowing, a carbon tax, downsizing national defense, income tax increases, a land tax, millionaires and billionaires, a national sales tax, tariffs, a VAT, a wealth tax, or means-testing Medicare and Social Security? If everyone’s obligation should be borne by everyone, isn’t it irrational to put the whole burden on a random fraction of the citizenry? 💆💆💆💆💆💆

Have you ever asked yourself, “Yes, but who’s behind the reptilian shapeshifters who clandestinely rule the world?”

Who first articulated the rule of etiquette not to discuss politics or religion in polite company? 💆💆💆💆💆💆

If people took the time to rigorously define their terms, most interesting discussions wouldn’t happen. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

At the highest level, politics and strategy are the same thing. That’s why you don’t want too many generals in the highest positions of government -- too few perspectives at the decision-making table. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

The lost session: Jimi Hendrix and Leo Kottke. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

Uncontrolled immigration poses many dangers, according to Lenni Lenape chieftain Chief Chingachgook. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

In all the debate over undocumented workers, I hope the fate of fraudulently documented workers doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. They’re people, too. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

Churchill once said, “It is always right to probe.” The context was civilian control of the military, and probably responded to a remark to the effect of “Leave military matters to the generals and admirals.” My reason for quoting it is not its truth, but to display the underappreciated rhetorical power of a series of monosyllables with a single disyllable or polysyllable: “Pedantry is a thing up with which I will not put.” "Pure” strings of monosyllables can be forceful, too: “You can’t get blood from a stone.” 💆💆💆💆💆💆

We’re lucky the brand of West Germanic that became Anglo-Saxon, the spine of English, was pithy and punchy, unlike the brand that grew into standard modern German. As Churchill said (he’s everywhere, that man -- is that Oscar Wilde in the corner, weeping with jealousy?), “Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are best of all.” 💆💆💆💆💆💆

If you know the difference between a shift and a sheath, or think you might, you may be a woman. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

Are unrepentantly potty-mouthed public officials here to stay, or will recent blows to civil expression heal over? If a broken bone grows back stronger, there must be hope for broken taboos. Or are they Humpty-Dumpties, never to be reassembled? 💆💆💆💆💆💆

Publisher names are getting as creative as band names. I recently saw one named “Great Weather for Media” and another named “Dorothy, a publishing project.” My own current publisher is “Monday I’ve Got Friday On My Mind, LLC,” a division of “The Large But Poorly Defined Project, Ltd.” 💆💆💆💆💆💆

I beg you not to read the following sentence aloud, lest you open a tiny gateway in your head, allowing an entity into your brain, where it will eat your mind and leave you as peaceful as a Falun Gong gold medalist: “Since his youth, Mr. Gregory was bothered by a fly that used to enter his mouth when he spoke, and when somebody spoke to him, the fly would fly out of his ear.” 💆💆💆💆💆💆

So as not to be a tease and leave you panting for more, I must tell you that the Mr. Gregory of the previous sentence has a large black mustache also named Mr. Gregory. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

“After 30 Hospitals in 2 Hours” is the name of a poem by Michelle Whittaker, whose debut collection, “Surge,” came out in July. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

Napoleon said, “Imagination rules the world.” Just as the category of action includes inaction, imagination includes lack of imagination, so Napoleon’s saying includes the meaning that imaginary chains imprison humanity or, put otherwise, lack of imagination holds us back. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

This is not the Austrian princess who worked tirelessly for good relations between Austrians and Hungarians. Nor is it a picture of her. But I’ll bet it's a picture of someone real.

Stephen Miller has been humorously described as looking like a guy in prison for eating his family. Like a man with the catchphrase “I hope I didn’t startle you.” Like Vladimir Putin, only his eyes don’t flash “KGB.” Miller’s eyes look three quarters world-weary and one quarter dead. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

Vladimir Putin

Roy Cohn

For balance, Hilary has been said to resemble the woman who tells you “There’s no eating in the library.” 💆💆💆💆💆💆

The lyrics to “Louie, Louie” are clean as a whistle, and The Kingsmen sang them exactly as written. The notion otherwise was a product of imaginations not at work on better projects. 💆💆💆💆💆💆

Just as all translation is vandalism, all quotation is falsification. Consider the fuller version of the Napoleonic quotation discussed above:

June 17, 1800 (on observing prisoners of war who recognized him)
Many began to shout, with apparent enthusiasm: "Vive Bonaparte!"

“What a thing is imagination! Here are men who don't know me, who have never seen me, but who only knew of me, and they are moved by my presence, they would do anything for me! And this same incident arises in all centuries and in all countries! Such is fanaticism! Yes, imagination rules the world. The defect of our modern institutions is that they do not speak to the imagination. By that alone can man be governed; without it he is but a brute.”

That sounds even more chillingly up-to-date when you consider that NB seemed to mean that everyone tends to fill a blank canvas according to fancy. 2016? 2017?

It has been said that after the Western Powers failed to respond to Hitler’s illegal remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, Hitler stopped relying on the advice of his generals -- who had counseled against the move on the ground that it would start a war for which Germany was not yet ready. Being his own strategist caused Hitler to blunder fatally in the later world war.

Napoleon, too, claimed to keep his own counsel:

July 4, 1800: “I! a royal maggot! I am a soldier, I come from the people, I have made myself! Am I to be compared with Louis XVI? I listen to everybody, but my own mind is my only counsellor. There are some men who have done France more harm than the wildest revolutionaries, - - the talkers, and the rationalists. Vague and false thinkers, a few lessons of geometry would do them good! My policy is to govern men as the great number wish to be governed. That, I think, is the way to recognise the sovereignty of the people.”

Keeping one’s own counsel is also a divine attribute, mentioned in the context of the unsearchability of God’s ways: “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been his counsellor?”

All in all, it creeps me out when a national leader deems her own judgments not only correct, but infallible, because they are the voice of the people, which is the voice of God, who cannot err. Brrr! (cf. Hayek, “Why the Worst Get On Top”) 💆💆💆💆💆💆

I am not a techie, but I remember thinking, back when there were faxes but no e-mail, “If they can make an image into ones and zeroes and send it over phone lines to be reassembled into printable images, why can’t they send the ones and zeros directly into our desktop computers?” By and by they did it and, what’s more important, made it easy for non-techies to do.

Nowdays I think this thought: “Why can’t slowed-down old computers be made like new by keeping a copy of the original installation ghosted in the cloud. Whenever thereafter the laptop or whatever gets unacceptably slow, you upload the contents of your computer to someplace in the cloud, wipe your disk, make a clean reinstall of your ghosted original install, Bob’s your uncle?”

I don’t doubt for a second that all that and more is already technically possible, but it’s not easy for non-techies to do, like e-mail.

Why might that be? I brush aside conspiratorial thinking (“the energy industry suppresses the technology that lets cars run on water”), but the thought does occur that stretching out the interval between computer replacements is for the computer industry like spitting in the soup.

Nevertheless, my best speculation is as follows:

(1) Reacceleration of slow computers is just harder than e-mail and takes more skill;

(2) The hardware gets old and unreliable after three to five years, and you don’t want to put new wine into old wineskins; and

(3) Why put good money into the old heap that could go toward a brand-new screamin’ machine? 💆💆💆💆💆💆

How about three sayings to wrap this up? (The emoji is called "face massage.")

North African proverb: “Whoever spends the night with chickens will cackle in the morning.”

“A man could not be in two places at the same time unless he were a bird.” --Sir Boyle Roche, Irish member of Parliament

“If you can’t find it where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” --Zen saying 💆💆💆💆💆💆

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